Prohibition dodging in Whitehaven

7 Mar

Situated on the sea to the west side of the Lake District is a small town called Whitehaven. It has an old harbour, a festival and some nice old buildings in the old town.  However, unless you get a clear, sunny day, you’d probably come to the conclusion that this town has definitely seen better days. It’s a place that you might like a bit more for what it has been or what it could be rather than for what it is.

US servicemen prohibition dodging in Whitehaven

I struggled to find any good food there, but am willing to be set straight on that, and didn’t really find any of the pubs too welcoming or discerning either. However, Whitehaven has three priceless things to offer, to my mind at least. It has a museum entirely dedicated to Rum.  It’s called the Rum Story, I thought it was great. It traces the town’s history with rum, how to make it and recreates various scenarios involved in the whole trade – slave ships, coopers quarters, rainforests – it’s got it all. You even get a free drink of rum at the end, bottles of which could be purchased in the shop there. I happily spent the best part of an afternoon wandering through the different rooms and thought it very well done and then I bought some rum, drank it, got a headache and went to sleep.

The second gem in this town is a damp smelling secondhand bookshop. It was great, books everywhere in every corner, and corridors and rooms and more rooms around the corner ….. you get the idea. I also spent quite a while in this shop, which has curiosity and charm imprinted into its soul. Unfortunately, I forgot the name. It was a few doors down from the Rum Museum and a little bit of internet research suggested that it is called Michael Moon’s Antiquarian Bookshop, but don’t quote me on that. I loved the smell and I loved the weird books, pictures and ‘whatnot’ I found in there. There used to be a bookshop like this in the place where I grew up but the last time I saw it it had been transformed into a rather boring estate agents! Let second hand book sellers trade rent free I say, preposterous as that suggestion is!

Finally, fairly near the waterfront, is our third gem. A greengrocers. This just looks fantastic and I wish it could be preserved this way forever. I saw nothing exciting in the produce being sold but this derelict looking shop just bellowed charm at every passer-by, or maybe it was just at me! Whatever. I loved it. So much so I bought a cabbage. In my view it would grace any high street and it’s certainly more individual than Boots and WHSmiths.

Kinsella & Sons fruit and veg miracle!

I’ll return to Whitehaven at some point. I hope I find more to enjoy.

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